Torino beat Mantova to win promotion to Serie A

June 11, 2006

ROME, June 11 (Reuters) - Torino won promotion to Serie A on Sunday when they beat Mantova 3-1 in the second leg of their playoff to draw 5-5 on aggregate.

With the scores level at the end of extra time, the victory was awarded to Torino by virtue of their better league standing.

The seven-times Italian champions, who dropped out of the top flight at the end of the 2002-03 season, finished third in Serie B last month behind Atalanta and Catania, who took the two automatic promotion places. Mantova were fourth.

Torino, cheered on by 60,000 fans at Turin's Stadio delle Alpi, made sure of the win five minutes into the first period of extra time when Davide Nicola headed in from a corner - a goal that left their opponents needing to score twice to prevent Torino going up.

Mantova striker Paolo Poggi pulled one back from the penalty spot after Matteo Melara flattened Gabriele Graziani, but Torino hung on to win.

Torino also won last season's promotion playoff against Perugia, but were forced to remain in Serie B due to financial irregularities.

The defeat came as a bitter disappointment for Mantova. The small club from the northern Veneto region was aiming to become the first to win three promotions in three seasons.